Read an Excerpt
The Wedding Vows from Conversations with God
By Neale Donald Walsch, Nancy Fleming-Walsch
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2000 Neale Donald Walsch
All rights reserved.
To Lovers ... From Lovers: Some Sacred Thoughts About Love
by Diane V. Cirincione, Ph.D. and Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.
We had both been divorced seventeen years at the time of our marriage, and we had known each other nine years before making the decision to get married. Although we had a most close and loving relationship for those nine years, neither of us had been certain that marriage was the form of the relationship that we wanted with each other.
Then while on vacation in Hawaii, one evening while taking a walk on the beach at sunset time, we made a spiritual commitment to a relationship to each other. It was not just a "sort of" commitment, but a total commitment to put God first in our relationship and to devote our lives together in service as best we knew how, using God's Guidance. As the year went on, it was as if a door had become open and we felt guided to make a marriage commitment. We were married on the beach in Kihei, Hawaii, at 7 A.M. with Diane's parents and Wally and Christine Amos the only ones in attendance. We had a Lei ceremony for ourselves and for Wally and Christine and Diane's parents as well, who recommitted their relationship to love and to God.
At that time the power of our love seemed so beautiful, maximum, and AS FAR beyond this world as it could possibly be. Yet our love has grown even more deeply in magnitudes beyond our imagination. We feel so blessed to have our relationship be used by God to help others through our work with the more than 150 Center for Attitudinal Healing groups that are now located in more than 27 countries.
In our marriage we believe that how you start the day determines the day. This is so important to us that we wake up each day at 4:30 A.M. and we meditate and pray. We hold hands and say aloud a little prayer from A Course in Miracles that puts the rudder in our ship before we even get out of bed. It goes like this:
I am not a body
I am free
For I am still as God Created me
I want the Peace of God
The Peace of God is my one goal
The aim of all my living here
My purpose, my function and my life
While I abide when I am not at home
Then we imagine our bodies turning into light and sending love to all those in our extended family and to those who are suffering from lack of love. We then go into silence and ask God for help in guiding us throughout the day. We frequently go on a silent meditation walk on the beach. (We live half the time in Hawaii and half the time in California.)
This relationship is different from any other relationship we have ever had because we both feel that we came in as whole people, rather than as a person with an empty space that the other person was supposed to fill.
Unconditional love, forgiveness, letting go of having any scripts for each other, and having God come first in our relationship has been essential to our marriage.
As we began to attempt to meet Nancy and Neale's request for some words for lovers who are committing themselves to marriage, what became very clear to us was that we do not know what is best for another couple.
We don't see ourselves as models for others. As a matter of fact, we feel that we had to create our own model.
We will attempt, however, to share with you what we feel has worked for us in a perhaps scattered, smorgasbord, non-sequential kind of way.
Some people believe that after the honeymoon is over romance will eventually fade away. We never chose to believe that. For us, romance and the excitement and adventure of living our lives together keeps increasing in magnitude each day of our lives.
Having the same interest in the other person as we do ourselves has been a mainstay of our marriage. Treating each other as equals, supporting each other's independence and guidance, letting go of trying to control the other person, not choosing to play the game of guilt and blame, committing ourselves to not be hurtful to each other, and taking responsibility for our own emotions have been part of the foundation of our relationship.
Taking responsibility for our own happiness and resisting the temptation to blame the other person when something goes wrong has been axiomatic. It is not that we are there all of the time, because we are not. But our strong intention to go in that direction is almost always there.
We absolutely love to be in nature. We love to do creative things together, like sculpting. We love to use our imagination to create romantic adventure together. For example, we spent one six-month period going one weekend a month to a bed and breakfast place that would be near a natural park that we wanted to explore.
Knowing when to turn off the telephones and to turn off the world has been important to us. Humor, laughing and giggling, and being silly has been a great elixir for getting over the hard spots.
Being able to ask each other for help, being able to totally listen and being totally present, and enjoying the silence with each other has been an important ingredient of our love, as well as not taking ourselves too seriously.
Letting go of assumptions and expectations, having acceptance, unconditional love, and not having a form for the other person to fit into has brought mountains and mountains of happiness to both of us. We both enjoy, every day, not taking the other person for granted, and telling the other person verbally and in many other ways how much we love and appreciate them.
Each of us still has the aura and excitement of being on our first date with each other. The romanticism and excitement of sexual intercourse is as if we are exploring and loving each other for the first time. Neither of us allow life to be boring. We find time to cuddle, hold hands, and touch each other a lot.
We give each other personal space. We resist the temptation to give each other unsolicited advice.
We are each other's best friend, and neither of us would ever dream of having a secret from the other. Trust and honesty are there all the time. We do our best to see the God-Self in each other. If there are conflicts, and they do occur, we commit to talking about it and resolving it before we go to bed. Rather than attacking each other and getting into the game of attack and defense, we ask each other for help. We look at each other without any shadows of the past.
We do our best to keep our relationship sacred and holy by wanting to give to each other, rather than attempting to get something from the other. Each moment of the day we love and let go and do our best to hang on to nothing.
Rather than worry about the future, we do our best to put the future into the hands of God. In striving to have a holy relationship, we believe that love and forgiveness are as important as breathing. It is a relationship where two lights come together, not only to light up each other, but to light up the whole world.
Diane wrote a poem early in our relationship that exemplifies this point and how she looks upon love.
If I love you above all others, it is because you have awakened in me capabilities for that much more love.
If I am to love all whom God has created as equal, then let me not love you less, to lower you to their level, but let me love them more and use you as a guiding light for my potential.
As I love God, I will seek to love you, and as my capacity to love grows, so will my awareness of love in others.
You are a luminescent catalyst for my love and for you I will be forever grateful.
To you lovers we would like to end our remarks by sharing with you some affirmations about commitment to marriage that we wrote for ourselves and that continue to serve us well:
May our blessed state of marriage, our holy relationship, be one in which God always comes first.
May our every thought, word, and action be accompanied by the thought of God from the time we awaken in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, and in our sleep as we rest.
May our love for each other and for God be a beacon of light that will nourish all others who may be suffering from lack of love.
May God's love always be in our hearts—reminding us that the purpose of our marriage is to have us teach each other—not patience, but infinite patience, tenderness, kindness, compassion, honesty, open-mindedness, tolerance, faith, and trust.
May we always be ready to forgive each other and to let go of all grievances and to love each other without judgments.
May our love continue to blossom and remain fresh and never become stale—by both of us having the willingness not to see any shadows in each other's past.
May we continue to remember that love is the answer to any possible problems that we might ever face, be they economical, emotional, or physical.
May we remember to teach only love to each other, not fear, and become teachers of love to each other, and to every one we might see.
May our will and God's Will always be one and the same.
May we continue to remember a loving God and trust in God and thereby know that God will never leave us abandoned or comfortless.
May love be the way we walk in gratitude every step of our lives as we continue to thank God for all of our blessings.CHAPTER 2
The Truest Heart
by Marianne Williamson
Intimate love is full of challenges, presenting as it so often does our greatest opportunities for both joy and sorrow. Who among us can honestly say we have never been wounded by the arrows of love?
According to the tenets of ageless spiritual wisdom, all pain derives from spiritual ignorance. What, then, is our ignorance in the face of romantic love? What is it we're not seeing, or thinking, that makes us so prone to romantic pain?
We are drawn toward fire, when drawn to the heart of another. We are drawn to the experience of God there, because God is the experience of our oneness. We are healed in that place, yet healing is not always easy. Yes, there is initial excitement, to be sure, when we find ourselves face to face with a beloved. But then the moment surely comes, when we are not comforted by love so much as our egos are burned by it. For love is a trial of initiation, where all that is not our truest selves—the most authentic expression of our highest potential—is cast into the fires of divine, transformative alchemy.
Once I really, truly see you, I will see that you are not perfect. You are a human being, just like me, and your fears run deep, exactly like mine. You have not transcended all of your fears any more than I have transcended all of mine. And now, in this moment, both our weaknesses and strengths in tow, we walk this Earth together. Will we connect through our weaknesses, or connect through our strengths? Will we abandon each other, or forgive each other? Will we further hurt each other by triggering our wounds, or heal each other by our compassion for them? Those are the questions which are posed by love.
Romance demands a hero's heart, yet it is often met with a cowardly narcissism. Romantic love is a quest; it is not just a gift. It is a noble pursuit and a challenging path. To approach it lightly is to not approach it at all.
Love is in fact a mystical pursuit, for it is a search for the light at the center of things. It is a ride to heaven, best taken with a mystical passenger to guide the journey. The key to success in romantic love is the power of a mystical Third.
We can invoke an inner room for love, a sanctuary built by our commitment to forgive, where both of us are comforted and shielded and healed. There is activated there a vortex of power, in which our deliverance to the highest dimensions of love is both guided and protected by angels.
Angels are the thoughts of God.
You are not my enemy, you are my brother.
That thought is an angel.
I choose not to bind you, but to free you.
That thought is an angel.
May I be a source of love in all things.
That thought is an angel.
May our love deliver both of us to who we most truly are, that we might better
serve the world.
That thought is an angel.
Angels surround us on all our paths. Hearing them, and heeding them, is the holy grail of love.
What we yearn for most is to go home together—to really go home. And for that, we need more than each other's arms: we need each other's forgiveness and compassion and stalwart loyalty. Finding that, we find a smiling God.
From our ecstatic joining, we create new life. As bodies join to conceive a child, minds and spirits join to recreate the lives we are already living. With the material womb we give birth to babies; with the spiritual womb, made active by the union of masculine and feminine within, we give birth to the energies of our own transformation. Boys become men, when they learn to love. And girls become women, when we learn to love. That passage, from who we used to be to who we are capable of becoming, is the greatest hope for the healing of the human race. It is a miracle of birth, no less than is the birth of a physical child. It is no less joyous, it is no less painful, it is no less miraculous, and it is no less holy. It is not always easy and it is not always fun. But it is always, always, always worth it. There is a joy in our finally making it, that makes the world as we know it fade away, and heaven reappear at last.
The truest heart is a hopeful heart. We are always on our way, when we are on our way together.CHAPTER 3
The Wedding Vows
__________ and __________ have not come here on this day to make a solemn promise or to exchange a sacred vow. They have already done that, long ago in their hearts.
__________ and __________ have come here to make public their commitment; to give noticement to their promise; to say again their vow—out loud and in your presence, out of their desire that we will all come to feel a very real and intimate part of their decision, and thus make it even more powerful.
They've also come here in the further hope that their ritual of bonding will help bring us all closer together. If you are here with a spouse or a partner, let this ceremony be a reminder—a rededication of your own loving bond.
We'll begin by asking the question: Why get married? __________ and __________ have answered this question for themselves, and they've told me their answer. Now I want to ask them one more time, so they can be sure of their answer, certain of their understanding, and firm in their commitment to the truth they share.
(Minister gets two red roses from table ...)
This is the Ceremony of Roses, in which __________ and __________ share their understandings, and commemorate that sharing.
Now __________ and __________, you have told me it is your firm understanding that you are not entering into this marriage for reasons of security ...
... that the only real security is not in owning or possessing, nor in being owned or possessed ...
... not in demanding or expecting, and not even in hoping, that what you think you need in life will be supplied by the other ...
... but rather, in knowing that everything you need in life ... all the love, all the wisdom, all the insight, all the power, all the knowledge, all the understanding, all the nurturing, all the compassion, and all the strength ... resides within you ...
... and that you are not each marrying the other in hopes of getting these things, but in hopes of giving these gifts, that the other might have them in even greater abundance.
Is that your firm understanding now?
(They say, "It is.")
And __________ and __________, you have told me it is your firm understanding you are not entering into this marriage as a means of in any way limiting, controlling, hindering, or restricting each other from any true expression and honest celebration of that which is the highest and best within you—including your love of God, your love of life, your love of people, your love of creativity, your love of work, or any aspect of your being which genuinely represents you, and brings you joy. Is that still your firm understanding now?
(They say, "It is.")
Finally, __________ and __________, you have said to me that you do not see marriage as producing obligations, but rather as providing opportunities ...
... opportunities for growth, for full Self expression, for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about yourself, and for ultimate reunion with God through the communion of your two souls ...
... that this is truly a Holy communion ... a journey through life with one you love as an equal partner, sharing equally both the authority and the responsibilities inherent in any partnership, bearing equally what burdens there be, basking equally in the glories.
Is that the vision you wish to enter into now?
(They say, "It is.")
I now give you these red roses, symbolizing your individual understandings of these Earthly things; that you both know and agree how life will be with you in bodily form, and within the physical structure called marriage. Give these roses now to each other as a symbol of your sharing of these agreements and understandings with love.
Now, please each of you take this white rose. It is a symbol of your larger understandings, of your spiritual nature and your spiritual truth. It stands for the purity of your Real and Highest Self, and of the purity of God's love, which shines upon you now, and always.
(She gives the groom a rose which has his ring pre-placed on the stem, and the bride the rose with her ring on it.)
Excerpted from The Wedding Vows from Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, Nancy Fleming-Walsch. Copyright © 2000 Neale Donald Walsch. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
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